Eleven days after Hindustan Times started a campaign for a pothole-free Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced a radical overhaul of the manner in which it goes about filling potholes.
Admitting that poor-quality work on roads led to waste of public money and caused inconvenience to citizens, municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar said the civic body would review the various methods used for road repair and adopt only those that were highly effective. It would also ensure that new roads built in the city were free of potholes, he said in the civic general body meeting on Friday.
The BMC has so far used asphalt macadam, matrix asphalt, carbon core and jet patching techniques to fill potholes in the city. All these would be studied in the next ten days, and the most suitable ones adopted.
“We will study these techniques for their cost and quality effectiveness. Another practice that was discontinued by the BMC — of filling potholes using metal and powder during monsoon — will be revived,” Kumar said.
HT had reported on July 20 that there were 6,000 potholes at 1,100 spots in the city. On July 23, the paper reported how the BMC had spent more than Rs 5,000 crore building and maintaining roads over the past five years. The civic body looks after 1,900 km of Mumbai’s roads.
In wake of the reports, mayor Shraddha Jadhav had, on July 25, given her phone number to citizens, saying they could call at her residence to complain about potholes.
Over the past ten days, this paper has also highlighted how the BMC has had too many bosses in the road department in the last five years, how it has ignored an expert panel’s advice to send its engineers for proper training and how there is zero supervision of roads that are being built.
“There is no doubt that potholes are a cause of great inconvenience for citizens. Roads like SV Road (in the western suburbs), LBS Road (in the central suburbs) and RC Marg (Chembur) need more attention,” Kumar said.
He said once the new mechanism for road repair had been decided, contractors would be asked to make changes accordingly and tender conditions modified to ensure that guidelines set by expert committees were followed.
“Contractors, for instance, will be asked to maintain a specific temperature of the material used for filling potholes,” he said.